The families wanted the court to pay damages, bar the Connecticut Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from enforcing its policy allowing transgender athletes to compete, and alter the records of some past events to remove prizes won by two transgender girls.
“Like the district court, we are not satisfied, with respect to the claim for injunctive relief to tamper with records, that Plaintiffs have established the factual damage and relief requirements for standing; both fail for speculative reasons,” the judging panel wrote.
“And because we conclude that CIAC and its member schools did not receive adequate notice that the Policy violates Title IX, in fact they received notice to the contrary, Plaintiffs’ damages claims must be dismissed,” they added. . Title IX is a federal education law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
The justices also relied on prior circuit decisions and the landmark Supreme Court opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, which says it is illegal to discriminate against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation in the workplace.
“Title IX includes language identical to Title VII, which broadly prohibits discrimination ‘on the basis of sex,'” the judges wrote. “Therefore, the Policy, which prohibits discrimination based on a student’s transgender status by allowing all students to participate on gender-specific teams in accordance with their gender identity, cannot be said to ‘fall within the scope of the prohibitions of Title IX’.
The ACLU, which represented two transgender athletes involved in the case, praised the ruling’s decision that found ADF and its clients lacked standing.
“The court rejected the unsubstantiated zero-sum arguments made by the opposition to this policy, ultimately concluding that transgender girls have just as much right to play as cisgender girls under Title IX,” said Joshua Block, lead counsel from the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV. Project. “This critical victory strikes at the heart of the political attacks against transgender youth while helping to ensure that all youth have the right to play.”
Key context: Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, Inc. he earned the backing of the Trump administration early on. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos threatened the state sports authority and school boards with legal action or loss of funds because his department determined that the transgender athlete policy violated Title IX. The Department of Justice was also ordered to file a statement of interest in the case, stating that the government had “a significant interest in the proper interpretation of Title IX.”
The Biden administration has since withdrawn its support for the case. And while several conservative states have pushed for restrictions on transgender athletes, including passing new laws they say are necessary to protect women’s sports, transgender women have been allowed to compete in women’s categories at the Olympics. since 2003 and in the NCAA since 2010.
The Connecticut Association of Schools and its division of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The suit also names the school boards of the Bloomfield, Cromwell, Glastonbury, Canton and Danbury school districts as defendants.
Whats Next: Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Christiana Kiefer said they are “evaluating all legal options, including appeal.”
“Our clients, like all female athletes, deserve access to fair competition,” Kiefer said, adding that several states have been lobbying against the interpretation. “Right now, 18 states have enacted laws protecting women and girls from having to compete against men, and polls show that most Americans agree that competition is no longer fair when men are allowed to compete in women’s sports… ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports.”